For Michael Flynn, this legal nightmare is over. Well, on paper, it’s over. The DC Court of Appeals ordered Judge Emmet Sullivan to drop the case against him to prevent his clown show of a courtroom doing more damage to the judiciary. Flynn was President Trump’s former national security adviser before he was targeted in what you could call a political assassination plot by former Obama officials and anti-Trump DOJ figures. He supposedly was part of this Russian collusion scheme which has been exposed to be a total myth. There is no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion.
You see, Flynn spoke to the Russians. I know, it’s an activity that was entirely unprecedented as national security adviser. I’m being sarcastic, of course. For months, we were told these calls had pernicious intent. In reality, based on disgraced FBI Agent Peter Strzok’s notes, even James Comey said the calls were legit. Still, Comey was going to get Flynn no matter what. Who cares? Hillary Clinton was going to win anyway at this point, right?
Flynn’s interview with the FBI was predicated on zero evidence of wrongdoing. Still, the agents felt he didn’t lie to them. Comey was fired, Robert Mueller stepped in and took over the investigation, and rehashed the Flynn angle even though the FBI was about to wrap it up. Mueller’s team put the screws to Flynn, threatening his family with financial ruin, which led to him pleading guilty to “lying to the FBI” charges.
On top of that, the judge in his case, Sullivan, accused him of treason and then refused to drop the case after the DOJ under William Barr filed a motion to dismiss the criminal case against Flynn, noting the lengthy history of misconduct at the FBI. Sullivan opted to continue this circus act, allow anti-Trump lawyers to file amicus briefs, and tap a retired judge to fight the DOJ motion. The courtroom had run amok. Liberal lawyer Jonathan Turley has been a fair-minded voice, despite probably having serious disagreements with this White House on the policy. He called for the Flynn case to be dismissed, said that there possibly was evidence for Flynn to file a malicious prosecution lawsuit against the FBI, and noted one critical error Sullivan made that could have mitigated the fallout from this legal disaster. It centered on sentencing (via USA Today):
The irony, however, is that Sullivan proved the best thing that could have happened to Flynn. After that unnerving exchange, Sullivan asked if Flynn still wanted him to sentence him or wait. He indicated that he might go substantially beyond what Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team had demanded. Flynn wisely decided to wait. The resulting delay allowed the damaging evidence from his case to be review and released. Had Sullivan simply sentenced Flynn last December, it would have been much more difficult for Flynn to have raised these issues.
Sullivan then handed down his novel orders including appointing his own counsel to argue for prosecution against the actual prosecutors.
This record proved too much for the appellate court. Rather than order Sullivan off the case, it decided to order Sullivan to dismiss the case. Short of an order of actual recusal of a judge, a mandamus order is the most stinging indictment of the handling of a case that can come from an appellate court.
So, in a twisted way, Sullivan proved to be Flynn’s guardian angel with his refusal to sentence him; it laid down the foundation for the ex-Trump official’s new legal team to mount an excellent campaign to unravel the case against him.